Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Falling Apart

It's pity party time around these parts...a much deserved pity party, if I do say so myself.

Not only is the dryer broken, but the dishwasher decided to follow suit, along with the cute new fountain that is now acting like a big beautiful bird bath rather than the fountain that it's supposed to be.


While complaining, loudly, it suddenly came to me.  We need a vacation.  But in order to take a vacation one must have money...and all our money (not that we have any) is being poured into our broken down house.

Real life isn't always fun.


So we decided on a whim to take a vacation morning...an escape from the falling down house and the houseful of boys who eat way to much food.  

Our plan?  Get up early, drive the 6.1 miles to the beach and splurge on breakfast at The Beachcomber.

The beach...it was cold.  It was overcast.  It was perfect.

There's just something about breakfast there that makes you feel like everything is going to be ok.  That maybe, just maybe, by the time you've finished eating beignets and breakfast crostini and drinking close to a pot of coffee laden with real cream, that all will be well.

That the broken down house will no longer be broken.

Feeling full...we walked.  Walked and talked for close to two miles on the empty beach while the marine layer burned off and the sun began to shine.

Here we are...that guy that I like so much and me, the chick with the stink eye.


Sadly, when we got home, everything was still broken.  Oh, and the engine lights are now on in two of our cars.


BUT...breakfast was yummy.  Repairman have been scheduled.  The garden is still pretty.  The cats love that that the fountain is now a big bird bath.  

This too shall pass.  Soon, I hope.


Monday, July 30, 2012

My Weekend

We got a new cable box which requires a PhD in direction reading in order to figure out how to turn the TV on, let alone having a hope in the world to change the channels.

The good news?  We can now record tons of shows and watch them from any TV in our house.  The real news?  Like we will EVER figure out how to do that???

I caved to all the peer pressure (also known as BEGGING) and made meatballs the old school way.  The FRYING IN OLIVE OIL way.  

I hate that they really do taste better this way...but it's still a once in a blue moon way of making them.

Sometimes, in the middle of summer, you just gotta have gravy.  The freezer was so sad that there wasn't any in there and you know how I hate a sad freezer.


The first fig has arrived.

One more time...the first fig has arrived.

All is well in my world now.

A visit to the tide pools.  So many little creatures that kinda freak me out.


Bubbly makes me bubbly.

So do parties in my garden.  

The olympics opening ceremony meant a special dessert...chocolate fondue.  


Gold medal for mom!

Alex and his friends, after staying up the whole night before, helped friends move.  In this case, free labor meant napping on the job.



My dryer, exactly 61 days after I spent $450 to fix it, broke AGAIN.

The repair warranty?  60 days.

I. am. being. tested. and. have. reached. my. breaking. point.


(the repairman is coming Tuesday. sigh.)

Thankful for sunshine and warmth and a drying rack....but still, I'd like a working dryer.

Crunchy towels are, well, crunchy.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Old Movie

There's a theater in town that shows classic movies on Wednesday nights and this week...Grease.

It's the sort of thing where before the movie starts, the manager comes out and introduces the film and offers free tickets to whomever can answer the trivia questions correctly.  It's so very...old fashioned.   And I love it.

The movie?  Racier than I remember.


I came home to a houseful (mine plus a whole bunch of their friends) of boys playing video games...so I lugged out the gallon ice cream container from the outside freezer and force fed them sundaes.

It was a hard sell.


Today is the day we begin ripping apart Alex's room...it's being painted this weekend but first it needs to be cleaned out.  His room is just...nasty.  I let it go for while (years, even) but the time has come.

He's thrilled.  So am I.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Running With Brian

My youngest son asked to go to the trail with me this morning and silly me said yes.

I should have known better.  He's young and agile and runs really, really fast...so fast that he lapped me TWICE on the two mile trail.

And I was running my fastest.


Brian's actually a great work out partner because he talks NON STOP and actually has lots of fun stuff to say...and that helps me forget the fact that I am old and slow and in pain and crabby and thirsty and sweaty and maybe even a little stinky.

His downfall?  He always wants donuts after working out.  My downfall?  I always say yes.



Monday, July 23, 2012

Over The Weekend

This weekend started on Friday, with breakfast out with that guy that I like so much.  We sat at the outside bar of a little cafe and shared an amazing fried green tomato topped with pesto...I'd never had one before and loved it.

What I didn't love...his lengua omelet.  Lengua is some animals tongue and while he loved it, the whole thought of it made me gag.  

No thank you.

The high school team had a tournament this weekend, so we spent a lot of time sitting in bleachers.

My baby is only 13 but looks older and plays older.  Not so fun on the first part but super fun on the second.


In between basketball games we played no fewer than a dozen games of gin rummy, which is the current game of choice.  Lady luck left me for the day; however, but that's ok.  She'll be back.


After church on Sunday (in which our Pastor talked about not getting hung up on what people wear to church, which THRILLED my older son) we stopped at our favorite Italian deli for chicago beef sandwiches.

Messy, messy, messy...but worth every drippy bite.

What?  More basketball?  Really?

So fun watching a younger brother, who thought until this weekend that he wouldn't be a good ball player unless he played exactly like his older brother, come into his own.  And guess what?  It's ok (more than ok, actually) to play your own way.

Coaches were happy.  He was happy.


After the last game we drove 30 minutes for a real Chicago pizza...I guess it was a Chicago kind of day.  Picked it up to go and smelled it the whole way home, at which time I put my jammies on and sat on the couch while watching the 3 hour Bachelorette finale.

Lots of complainy males while it was on but not a one left the room...they were on pins and needles waiting to see who would be chosen, too.

Ok, so maybe not...but the pizza mellowed them out a bit.


How was your weekend?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Morning

A beautiful, sunny, HOT morning on my new favorite trail.

Or at least it was...

...until I read the sign part way in.

Ummm...I'm a girl.  A girl who no likey likey snakes.  Or bugs.  Or anything icky.

So guess what?  I RAN.  Like, ran the trail.  The whole thing.  

The funny part?  I run slower than I walk.


The brother barber shop was open yesterday.  

Alex did Brian and Matthew and  then Matthew did Alex.

I love boys who wear easy ( read...CHEAP) hair.


My kitties are SO happy that I am home.  The feelings are mutual.

A cocktail and Hemingway while supper cooks.

Feels so grown-up.  I spent a whole summer a long, long time ago reading all the classics...I'm repeating that this summer along with that guy that I like so much.  

The house is quiet this morning...Alex is still sleeping after going to the midnight showing of Dark Knight, Brian has basketball and Matthew left last night for an impromptu road trip to Texas.  Texas!  1300 miles, which they are driving straight to, in order to catch a drum corps show.  Kinda wishing I could comment on his fun facebook posts, but no one wants their mama commenting on their facebook page at this age...but sounds like they are having quite the adventure.

Crazy kid.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Party In The Garden

Our garden...which is just a fancy name for our our little backyard, is in full bloom.  The fig tree is practically tipping over from the weight of all the figs, the tomatoes are all ripening at record pace, the lemon tree is full of still green lemons and the flowers.  Oh...the flowers.  Loads and loads of flowers everywhere you look.

I can honestly say that there is no place I'd rather be on a summer evening than in that tiny little garden.
(olives, olive oil, goat cheese, lemon and thyme.  served w/ french bread.)

We usually have garden parties on weekends, but due to vacations and kids activities and just plain old life stuff, it worked out better to have a weeknight supper.

Lots of grown-up's and lots of boys (we grow a lotta boys around these parts) filled up our little house on our little street.

As for food...I roasted 4 whole chickens in the afternoon.  I do my chickens the Julia Child way...stuff them with some lemon and garlic and thyme, rub them with olive oil and sprinkle them with loads of salt and pepper and roast them at 425 for 1 1/2 hours.  They come out perfect every single time.

I cut them up just before the party, drizzled them with a little lemon infused butter (YUM), covered them in foil and just set them on the back of the stove...the chicken is perfect slightly warm or even at room temperature.  Along with that I roasted some potatoes and carrots and had friends bring the salads.

Easy, peasy.

The keys to a fun party are the following:

don't mix crowds.  sounds like a good idea, but it never quite works.
make as much of the food ahead of time.
great music.
candles.  Lots and lots of candles.

Also...make sure you have at least one person there who 'speaks your language'. The person who will run and get a fork for someone else or knows where you keep the wine opener or who tells really, really funny stories.


As for clean up?

Go to bed and hope that when you wake up in the morning the kitchen will be spotless.  It hasn't worked for me yet, but I am an optimist.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Back In Order

I've been back home for two full days now and have just completed my 18th load of laundry.  Every piece of clothing, every towel, every beach towel, every rug and every sheet is now clean and fresh smelling...so today, the washing machine will get a rest.

She deserves it.


I took myself on my newest favorite hiking/walking/trotting (my form of running is actually a trot) trail near my house...it has only one big hill and from the top you can see the mountains on one side and the ocean from the other.  I'm betting in the Fall, once the rains come, it will be SO beautiful...but even in it's brown state it is gorgeous and smells of salty ocean water mixed with the smell of hay.

With a little french fry smell thrown in for good measure.

It was so quiet and I was the only one out there (aside from the scary man walking his three german shepherds...hence, the trotting I assumed in order to pass him up) which gave me lots of time to think about all the things I needed to think about and pray about all the things I needed to pray about.


Life has resumed around here...my boys are a little extra sweet, saying things like, 'Mom...I'm sooo glad you're home!  The refrigerator was SO empty!'

It's nice to know I am needed.


The above photo?  That guy that I like so much decided to take it last night...he then handed his oldest son a $20 bill and said 'thanks for always making picture taking so easy.'

The other boys, who are not the most cooperative during photo sessions, went...well, ballistic.  Matthew smiled and pocketed the money.

Pretty sure we'll get a few smiles from them the motley part of my crew from now on...and no, they will not be paid.  But we don't have to tell them that...we'll just keep them hoping.

Score one for Dad.


Monday, July 16, 2012

There's No Place Like Home

I'm back from an incredibly incredible week away...a week where I recharged my batteries and saw lots of fun people and laughed lots and ate some really, really good food.

Among the really great food was a burger at Durty Gurts in Galina, Illinois that I ate in between a day at the dog races in Dubuque and a visit to a basilica in Dyersville.

(seriously.  we did some crazy fun stuff on this trip!)

I started to go through the 624 pictures I took and I can't seem to get past this burger.  

Here's the deets:

1/2 lb burger
jalapeƱo jack
sweet pickles
thick cut tomato
macaroni and cheese
served on grilled sourdough

Yep.  I ate (half of) it.  And loved EVERY.SINGLE.BITE.

Crazy good in a sick, sick way.


Flying was easy this time around and I am fairly quick at recombobulating after I discombobulate...and I love that the Milwaukee airport has a specific area for that.


I arrived home just in time to watch my #25 (he's wearing his big brothers number, which I find very, very cute) play some great defense against a HUGE kid.

Brian completely shut him down.  That's my boy.


I'll be honest...my little house looked a bit rough around the edges when I walked back in after being away.  Nothing a little momma TLC couldn't take care...and personally, I like that they need me.

It's good to be home.


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